Major League Soccer announced on Thursday it has extended its relationship with California-based Match Analysis to continue use of the K2 Panoramic Video system, player tracking and tactical analysis tools. With this move, MLS becomes the first major professional sports league in the United States to track and analyze the movement of all its players and officials in every match.
The K2 Panoramic Video system is made up of three cameras stitched into one seamless video to provide a unique corner flag to corner flag view. The video feed archives also provide a coach and technical staff complete touch-by-touch video in focusing in on either a single player or pulling back to see their entire team shape.
Traditional tracking systems provide an overhead "bird's eye" animation: just circles and numbers moving around on a green rectangle. The K2 Panoramic Video system is a highly unnatural, interactive way to watch a match.
Match Analysis recently completed camera installation and testing in all 18 MLS venues and the long-term deal announced on Thursday furthers the current relationships Match Analysis holds with the majority of MLS clubs, delivering video and statistical analysis tools and data.
"Our goal at MLS is not just to repeat what is already available but to continually push the boundaries of technology and performance analysis,” said MLS executive VP of competition, technical and game operations Nelson Rodríguez in a league statement. “In conjunction with our existing relationships, this new agreement with Match Analysis is a major step toward making MLS one of the most technologically advanced leagues in the world."
The idea of Match Analysis is not only to show where players are on the field — that's certainly important — but furthermore to gain insight as to where they should instead be on the field of play.
For instance, touch a player in the video, and the player's name and number instantly appear. Touch the four players in the back line, and a line appears on the field between them ... not just in an animation, but in the video itself. With a click, the offsides line appears in the video. By clicking "Team Shape" a coach is shown how compact or disorganized his team is working on the field.
Match Analysis' K2 Panoramic Video system also serves as an incredibly useful tool for the review and developent process of referees. Whether the center official or the assistant referee on the near or far side, the K2 Panoramic Video system sees match officials and holds them accountable as to where they should be.